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Tony Harnell & The Mercury Train - 'Round Trip' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/85/8b/27/628_tonyharnellmercurytrainroundtrip_1285361438.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 24, 2010    
 
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Undoubtedly a little different to the norm.

It’s often said that the one true test of any song worth its salt is to judge just how well it works in its most basic format. Deconstruct it, strip away any of the fancy production and studio gimmicks that detract attention from the core melody and serve it up in its purest form ... only then will you know just how great a song it is (or indeed isn’t). With the release of ‘Round Trip’, it seems that the intriguingly titled Tony Harnell & The Mercury Train are doing exactly that.

After a bit of an unplanned lay off from the music business (dictated by events in his personal life which need not overly concern us here), onetime TNT front man Tony Harnell is now back in the saddle, and on the evidence here, sounding as good as ever. Originally a germ of an idea which originally grew out of a few low key club shows in New York a couple of years back, ‘Round Trip’ sees Tony (backed by a bunch of respected players from outside the normal hard rock community) present reworked versions of songs previously recorded with TNT and the much missed Westworld, as well as a few others.

Now, no disrespect intended to Tony Mills who is a fabulous singer in his own right, but to all intents and purposes Tony Harnell will always be ‘the’ voice of TNT, but of course with that acceptance comes certain expectations – particularly when applied to classic songs such as ’10,000 Lovers’ and ‘Intuition’. No doubt some will be wary of anyone messing with the original formula, but I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with what Tony and the guys have achieved here – and that from someone who normally heads straight for the bar when anything remotely acoustic comes on stage!

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Obviously, some songs will have been easier to rearrange than others – the heartfelt ballad ‘Northern Lights’ for example (which sounds fantastic by the way) – but somehow the stripped down arrangements throughout work beautifully and thus reinforce my opening gambit, these are all great songs! As an additional incentive (should anyone actually need it), the revamped ‘Shame’ from the classic Westworld debut also sees Tony dueting with Saraya chanteuse Sandi Saraya.

Described by Harnell himself as ‘an extremely cathartic experience’, ‘Round Trip’ is undoubtedly a little different to the norm (always a good thing in my books at least), but if you’re in the mood for something a touch more chilled, is nonetheless a great way to unwind!

DAVE COCKETT

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